I'm sure no one has ever said that processes are fun. That's because they're not. But they're crucial for a business to work. And as technology evolves to make our lives easier, BPM software, or BPMS for the laziest and busiest readers, appeared to map out, automate, and report on processes. The goal was simple: to increase productivity and optimize efficiency.
Born in the 1990s, it used to be easy to choose the best BPM software. A quick look at analyst reports would be enough to discover the top technologies to automate and optimize your business processes. But today, the possibilities are endless. From RPA technology and low-code technologies to old school BPMS, it's easy to get lost.
That said, in this blog post, I'll discuss what business process management software is, its benefits, and its evolution to help you choose the right technology from the myriad of automation solutions out there.
What Is Business Process Management Software?
BPM software is the technology that came to digitalize business process management (BPM). With BPM tools, companies can map the various steps in a process, and set workflows in motion. These workflows route a specific sequence of action items to the right people. This way, every member involved in a process knows what to do and when.
In other words, business process management software runs or manages business processes to improve an organization's operations and reduce the risk of bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
Let me use an example based on something that we all love: vacations. You plan to reserve a few days in an incredible resort with a great view of the beach in the Maldives (because, why not?). Now it's time to ensure your boss gives you those days off. So, you go to your company's vacation's app, select the days you want to take off, and click submit. Your boss will receive a notification to (hopefully) approve your request. Once he/she approves it, you receive a notification with the approval.
BPMS is the tool that allows you to create and manage this digital and automatic workflow, replacing the complex paper-based and bureaucratic process you had to follow before to get those days off.
Benefits of BPM Software
Simply put, BPM software allows you to create more efficiency by automating and standardizing business processes while ensuring that all members of your organization are moving in the same direction to get the work done and the goals accomplished. But there are a few more benefits that come from this digitalization:
- Cost efficiency: By streamlining operations and collaboration, and automating repetitive tasks, companies can reduce costs while improving productivity.
- Improved agility: A good BPMS has the flexibility to change processes or add new steps, adapting to the unique demands of your business.
- Increased productivity: BPMS facilitates the automation of repetitive tasks, removing bottlenecks, and unnecessary steps.
- Better employee and customer satisfaction: Instead of spending time doing boring and repetitive tasks, employees can spend more time in activities that bring more value to the business and the customer.
- Metrics for informed decisions: Most BPMS provide reporting and analytical tools to quantify the results of workflows, and support executive decisions.
Now, the world has changed a lot since the 1990s. Hair became less volumed, and technology evolved to adapt to the users' needs, not the other way around. And business process management software is no exception.
Evolution of BPM Software
Although its benefits are indisputable, new technologies have been popping up as an alternative to BPM tools. The reason for that has to do with the complexity of this type of solutions. They're known to be hard to use, and even the simplest change or customization requires the effort of specialized engineers. As a consequence, whenever you want to change a workflow, the work ends up falling on the increasing backlog pile of your IT team.
And when you move to the enterprise, projects are even longer because of the complex business rules that are spread across multiple departments and locations. Not only that, but businesses are now more worried about UX, integrations, and new repository of data, and not all BPM tools are ready to meet these needs with agility.
For that reason, and to meet their customers' demands, over the last few years, many BPMS vendors started to integrate low-code development capabilities into their stack.
BPMS vs. Low-Code
Low-code platforms are a type of technology used to design and develop software applications fast and with minimal hand-coding. Depending on the platform's offer, it can be used by professional developers to accelerate the development of complex projects, or by citizen developers to create simple applications for their personal use.
Now, I'm not suggesting that low-code has come to replace BPMS. But you can look at this type of platform as an evolution of the BPM market. In fact, in Gartner's latest Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms, most Niche Players are vendors still undertaking a transition from the BPM market.
The thing about low-code platforms, like OutSystems, is that they remove the complexity of development through configurable tools, resources, and reusable components. This way, your team can quickly create or change simple or complex BPM solutions with minimal effort through a built-in workflow engine without worrying about the different steps for modeling and implementing business processes. If you want to see how this works, I invite you to watch this short webinar about building workflows and complex logic with a low-code platform.
Finally, as UX is becoming a part of any app dev project, low-code platforms offer you the tools to easily customize your BPM solutions to improve your users' adoptions and reduce the need for training. Plus, you can easily integrate solutions developed with low-code with pretty much everything.
Want to learn more about low-code solutions for BPM? Visit our page for Business Process Management.